The First Amendment right to organize a mass protest was essentially eliminated (for now) in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi on Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn a lower court decision. The move means that the organizer of a protest can be held responsible for any illegal actions by attendees. The case, Mckesson v. Doe, stems from a Black Lives Matter protest in Baton Rouge in response to the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling by city police in 2016. Vox’s Ian Millhiser explains the absurdity of holding an organizer responsible for the actions of all people in a protest: 

So, if protest organizers can be sanctioned for the illegal action of any protest attendee, no one in their right mind would ever organize a political protest again. Indeed, as Fifth Circuit Judge Don Willett, who dissented from his court’s Mckesson decision, warned in one of his dissents, his court’s decision would make protest organizers liable for “the unlawful acts of counter-protesters and agitators.” So, under the Fifth Circuit’s rule, a Ku Klux Klansman could sabotage the Black Lives Matter movement simply by showing up at its protests and throwing stones.

The House Ways and Means Committee shelved legislation on Monday that seeks to eliminate Louisiana’s personal income tax in 2026. But committee chair Rep. Julie Emerson indicated that lawmakers would work to repeal the tax – and the nearly $5 billion it generates – in the coming years. The Shreveport Times’ Greg Hilburn reports

“I do think we can accomplish this in 2026,” Emerson said. But she said details and offsets must be worked out during the 2025 Legislative Session, where lawmakers can consider making changes to any tax law because it’s an odd year. “There’s a tremendous amount of will to get this accomplished,” Emerson said. “It will make us more competitive with the states around us.”

Reality check: Louisiana’s modest income tax is not what’s causing the state to fall behind its regional peers. The state’s persistently high rates of poverty and poor levels of education attainment have made it an unattractive place for many people and employers. And recent attacks on LGBTQ+ people and draconian abortion laws further deter businesses and young professionals from relocating to Louisiana. 

Intimate partner violence cost Louisiana $10.1 billion in medical expenses, lost productivity and criminal justice spending in 2022, according to a new report from Tulane University’s Newcomb Institute. This violence also has a heavy financial toll on survivors, which the authors calculated at approximately $105,602 annually. The report’s authors explain the numerous benefits of efforts to reduce this violence: 

“Most states have no idea what they’re spending on intimate partner violence, which further illustrates the urgent need for action,” said Anita Raj, executive director of Newcomb Institute and co-author of the report. “We believe that the data make an undeniable economic case for increased investment in prevention programs and reforms to effectively respond to domestic violence.” 

Last April, states across the country began kicking people off their Medicaid rolls, a process sparked by the end of pandemic-era coverage protections. Since then, 20 million Americans, including 275,000 Louisiana residents, have lost their Medicaid coverage. This loss is having devastating consequences for families. The New York Times’ Noah Weiland  gives five takeaways from a year of Medicaid upheaval: 

More than half the nation’s children were covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program before the unwinding began, and the toll on that population has been pronounced. Nearly five million children have lost Medicaid so far, according to state data analyzed by Georgetown researchers.. … Like Jerome, roughly 70 percent of people who have lost Medicaid were dropped for what were considered procedural causes, according to a KFF analysis of state data. Many people lost coverage after they did not return required paperwork to a state Medicaid office, while others were accidentally booted because of technical glitches.

Note: Almost a quarter of those who lost health coverage in Louisiana were children. The vast majority of residents were dropped for procedural reasons, not because they were ineligible. 

$10.1 billion – Amount of money that intimate partner violence cost Louisiana in 2022. This amounts to almost a quarter of the state’s annual budget. (Source: Tulane University’s Newcomb Institute